Why is D’Angelo Russell struggling and which Lakers might buy a cow? MAILBAG

Thai Luong:

I think Scott’s system doesn’t necessary play in Russell’s favor, but the latter is only 19 and regardless of NBA system he will struggle a bit. We saw glimpses of Russell’s potential as a passer and his decent mid-range game, but he stills lack the ability to finish around the paint. Russell will be fine going forward because he is intelligent player. See how great Jordan Clarkson is now? That will be Russell after the All-Star break. One thing that isn’t working for me is how Scott is playing Russell in regards of his minutes and playing time. Russell needs more playing time so he can learn and adapt to the NBA game, especially in the fourth quarter. There is no sense in playing him a few minutes in the final quarter and then taking him out when the game gets tight; I think that sends a bad message to Russell.

Kyle Hartwick:

I believe that Scott is hindering Russell’s development. The kid needs playing time, and more importantly, he needs playing time in pressure situations. The only way you can learn how to control a close late game scenario is by being in a lot of them. You can drill it all you want in practice, but it doesn’t come anywhere close to the real deal. Do I think that Byron Scott is going to ruin Russell for the future? No. Russell is too smart to have his career be ruined by the coach in his first year. But it is affecting his short term development, and thus affecting fans perceptions of him compared to other members of his draft class.

Gary Kester:

Well, to be fair to Scott, there is a lot going on behind the scenes that we don’t know about, especially in the team’s practices. With that being said, Russell is not being utilized as much as he should be. Far too many possessions are wasted on dumping the ball down to Kobe and letting him go one-on-one instead of using Russell in high screen-and-roll sets. That is his bread and butter, yet the rookie is used off the ball, sometimes being limited to just a spot-up shooter. This is where I miss Mike D’Antoni, because his system was perfect for Russell. Push tempo, space the floor and pick-and-roll action. But at this point, I’ll settle for Russell simply getting over 30 minutes per game. As it stands, he isn’t getting enough burn.



The Lakers have a rough schedule coming up with a lot of games being on the road (6), and it is safe to say that if they go winless for the rest of this month, Scott could ultimately be fired. Any coach could get fired in that situation. Personally, I don’t think Scott would be the coach for the Lakers after this season anyway; his rotations and lack of creativity on offense cannot succeed in the current NBA regardless of what players he has on the floor. Realistically, if the Lakers don’t win at least 10 games before Christmas, I think the Lakers would let him go. If the Lakers ever fire Scott I think that would send a strong message that the Lakers are moving forward and truly care about winning.


Unfortunately, I don’t think Byron gets fired this season. It definitely won’t be before Christmas, if it happens at all. Byron is a Laker, and unless things get worse (it’s possible, trust me), then he’ll be around until the end of the season. But don’t expect him to be calling the shots in 2016-2017.


Scott is a member of the Lakers’ family, so I think he will get a little more leeway than say, Mike Brown. To get fired during this season, it will probably take something drastic, like a record of 2-20, or something to that extent. After the season, however, I would not be surprised to see him get let go. We saw the Lakers attempt to use the vacant head coaching position as a recruiting chip in free agency two summers ago, so maybe they will try it again next offseason for Kevin Durant. Personally, if they fire Scott, I think it comes off as more favorable to free agents if they hire a new coach without consulting them, because it showcases decisiveness and clear direction.


The Lakers have an OK team, miles better than what they had last year and it is a pity that it is not translating into wins. From what I see, they are giving their best effort on the court. They have veterans who care about winning and young players who are eager to prove that they can win. It is a good mix that has translated into good energy and hustle. They even had a verbal altercation among themselves during a loss against the Nuggets. We’re not sure what they were arguing about, but it seemed like they care, and that is a good sign. Although it is still early in the season, the players seem to respect the coaches, so it’ll be interesting to see if they can keep the hustle, energy and spirit up when the losses start to pile on.


Really good question. I started to type “Yes, the Lakers look well coached” but then I really took a look at it. The Lakers have given up 110.7 ppg, which is good for 28th in the league. That’s not good. I don’t have game film in front of me, but thinking back to the games I’ve seen, it seems that the defense is a little sluggish. And with the youth on this team, that will improve with time under the right staff. But this isn’t the right staff for defense. Not even a little bit. As far as players knowing what to do; they’re young, even if we had Phil, they would be making mistakes.


Not really. The team looks clueless on defense more often than not. The offense gets stagnant on too many possessions and relies on individual talent to get a bucket (the Lakers rank 2nd in the NBA in percentage of plays ending in an isolation). The team overall lacks discipline in multiple facets of the game. But hey, at least they are in good shape from all those sprints in practice.


LOL. I wonder what happened to the cow. Is it okay? (Editor’s Note: It was eaten) I think Nick Young and Tarik Black are the players that would likely buy a cow together. I think Tarik would treat the cow like his own daughter while Nick will paint it pink and bring it to practice. Tarik would sing lullabies to it while Nick tries to swag it out and give it a nick name like Swaggy C or something. I think they would be great cow parents. (Second Editor’s Note: This was very specific…)


If we’re ruling out Sacre because he already bought a cow, then I think it has to be Larry Nance Jr. and Kobe. I can just imagine them waking up early, driving out to the farm that Kobe bought for their one cow. They feed it, play with it (do cows play?), and dunk over it. It would be named Goat, of course. But it would be good bonding for the two after the horrible start to their friendship. Also, Nance Jr. went to college at Wyoming, so I think he might have some cow experience. He majored in Criminal Justice, but maybe he took some agriculture classes? (Third Editor’s Note: I do not think the rookies understand that Sacre and Kaman bought that cow to eat)


Leave the cows alone. Eat mor chikin. (I’m waiting on that check, Chick-fil-A)


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